It is a fear that many people have when they decide to go into the rental property business: what happens if someone rents your property and then decides that they do not want to leave? After all, it is your property, right? That is where things get tricky. While you are the owner of the property, they are the residents. Before you do anything at all, you need to know your rights as it pertains to the law.
Using Respect to Get Tenants Out
Before you take any legal action, the best place to start is by being fair with the tenants and trying to reason with them. If you are able to get them out of your rental property without going into a lengthy legal procedure, the results are almost always better. You should consider talking to them about the situation to see what is preventing them from leaving and see if you can work out a deal. You catch more flies with honey, or so they say. Use this to your advantage and see what you can work out as a way to diffuse the situation and resolve it, if possible. In the end, this is the easiest way to get them out while also making sure that your property is left in good condition.
While this is the best method, it does not always work and you should be prepared to take further action to take your home back. You do not want the relationship to become tense if you have a good relationship with the tenants. Talk to them about options and try to find a good solution that works for everyone, unless they are failing to pay rent. Keep in mind, however, that you should not take any action or compromise that would affect your rights as a landlord.
What Is the First Step If Tenants Will Not Leave the Property?
No matter what the situation is, before you do anything, you should look at the lease agreement form that you have in place. The lease that was signed by both you and the renters can help you determine the best course of action. It can also outline your options. You likely have some clauses in there that can determine what action you can take if something occurs, like refusing to move out of the property. If you do not have this kind of language in the lease, then you should turn to the law. Local and state laws determine what you can do in terms of getting holdover tenants out of the property. Remember that you do have options, but you must do everything legally. While they occupy the property, even if the lease is expired, then you still need to take the right legal steps to get them out. The law and your lease can help you determine what your options are so you can start to work towards removing them from the property.
What If There Is No Active Lease?
In most states, when you let someone move into the property without a lease in place, it is considered a tenancy at will. This type of tenancy can be terminated at any time by either the tenant or the landlord. Because there is no lease in place, it can be more difficult to get them out of the property if you have asked them to leave. This type of situation would be governed by your state or local landlord-tenant laws. To determine the best course of action, you will need to refer to the laws specific to your area.
What If the Lease Has Expired?
If you do have a lease in place and it has expired but the tenants are not moving out, there are a couple scenarios to evaluate. If they are continuing to pay rent, then you may want to consider letting them stay there by executing a new lease agreement. The only reason you may want to avoid this is if a rental increase has been proposed and declined by your tenants. If they are refusing to pay a higher rent but are also refusing the leave, then you may need to choose eviction for your method. Make sure you only do what is allowed in the lease in these types of situations, as well as the law in your state.
What If They Are Not Paying Rent?
One of the most common reasons for landlords wanting to get tenants out of their rental property is because they are no longer paying rent as they agreed. When tenants stop paying, either because they have no money or they simply have hit a rough spot, they are in violation of their lease, assuming you have one in place. In most states, if they are failing to pay, this violation of the lease can be used to begin eviction so you can regain control of the property and find new tenants. You do have a valid reason to get them out of the property if they are failing to pay rent, so use your rights to get them out of the house if that is what you want and need.
What If They Are Paying Rent?
There may come a time when you simply need someone to move out of your property even though they are paying rent and the lease is active. You may want to renovate the property or even move back in. Unfortunately, in this situation, your options are limited. Unless you have a clause in the lease that allows you to require them to move out early with a notice, you may have to wait until the lease is up. If you have a lease in place that is active and the tenants have not violated it, your only other option is to approach them to see if they would be willing to get out of the property early because of your special situation. If they refuse, you will simply have to wait until the lease is up or they fall behind on rent to get them out of the property.
Read the Situation
Every situation is different, which means that you may want to approach them in different ways. Just like there are different laws in different states that have to do with this subject, there are also different tenants and ways you should approach them. This is a tricky issue, but one that you will have to deal with at some point if you want to regain control of your property. Always follow the state and local laws that pertain to your locale, but also pay attention to the specific situations to help you determine if there are other options you can use in your approach. Doing this can help you save yourself from some heartache as well as save you some money.
If you are facing this issue currently, make sure you always refer to your local laws before taking any action. This is a situation that no one ever wants to deal with, but it is also one that can be very common in the real estate rental industry. Knowing what your options are can help you better prepare for the possibility of it. Once you know it is something that is fairly common and you know how to deal with it, then you can set yourself up for success. If you or someone you know has questions about real estate transactions, please feel free to reach out to the Hunter Law Group team to discuss your best options.